Julie Curtiss - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Friday, October 6, 2023 | Phillips
  • “In my images, I enjoy the complementarity of darkness and humour, the uncanny and the mundane, grotesque shapes and vivid colours.” — Julie Curtiss

    Best known for her highly stylised, bold, and neo-surrealist compositions, Julie Curtiss is one of the most exciting artists working today. Rendered in her signature graphic style, Spring is a brilliant example of Curtiss’s mesmerising and hypnotic practice. Often implementing faceless and fragmented women within her compositions, the present work features an anonymous and mysterious figure with her back turned against the viewer. Swept up in an eerily dreamscape such as Spring, Curtiss entices the audience with her painterly technique and encourages them to interpret beyond what they are looking at. 


    Cropping the image abruptly on the top and the bottom, Curtiss creates a sense of ambiguity and intrigue using her signature swirls and rendering crisp outlines and saturated colours. Curtiss is particularly interested in human hair as she sees it as an amorphous part of us that would continue to exist after we are deceased. Painting the hair is a repetitive, appealing, and hypnotic process for Curtiss. For her, hair carries cultural and personal importance. In Spring, the hair is braided in a unique style as Curtiss suggests that it is 'a sexual asset' for women. Curtiss says that 'what’s at the heart of my interest is how nature and culture relate, the balance between our wild side and our domesticated side.'i


    Based in Brooklyn, New York, Julie Curtiss received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts from l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Art. In recent years, she has been honoured with shows at the White Cube Gallery in London (2021), and Anton Kern Gallery in New York (2020, 2019). More importantly, Curtiss is currently showing her first exhibition in Greater China Bitter Apples at the White Cube Gallery in Hong Kong. This presents Spring as an exciting work to be offered at auction this season.


    iEvan Pricco, “Julie Curtiss”, Juxtapoz, 2019, online.

    • Provenance

      Drawer, New York
      Private Collection
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Julie Curtiss

      Born and raised in Paris, France, Julie Curtiss (b. 1982) now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Curtiss studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, Paris.

      The artist draws on a history of figurative painting including 18th- and 19th-century French painting, as well as the Chicago Imagists and the ‘pop’ imagery of comic books, manga and illustration. Frequent subject matter focuses on the deconstructed female body and symbols of stereotypical female aesthetics. There are similarities between Curtiss’ work and the painters of the female Surrealist movement of the early 20th century in the use of distorted perspectives, dreamscapes, and humor to reflect upon the female experience.  

      Curtiss’ work is represented in a number of museum collections, among which are Bronx Museum, New York; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; High Museum, Atlanta; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Maki Collection, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai.


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Property from an Esteemed Private Collection



signed, titled and dated 'Julie Curtiss "Spring", 2017' on the reverse
gouache on paper
19.7 x 18.4 cm. (7 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 600,000 

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Head of Day Sale, Associate Specialist
+852 2318 2014

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 7 October 2023